Karma, Privilege, and Empowerment: Lessons from the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference

grace hopper conference

In early October, BrightRoll attended the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conference. It was a first for us, but it will certainly not be the last given the value, connections and inspiration we got from those three days.  We came back inspired and excited, but also a little deflated. Grace Hopper now boasts over 8,000 attendees, which is a huge leap from the 150 attendees at their very first conference in 1994. But despite all of the growth, it’s clear that there is still a lot standing between gender equality and tech.

Trust Karma, but Ask for a Raise

Enough has been written about the tone deaf comment made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, but his statement is worth endless analysis and commentary. Careless or not, what he said tells women that we have a long way to go. If men who say they want equality are this out of touch, what can we expect from those who haven’t bought into gender equality?

His comment is not malicious, but it speaks to a bigger problem: ignorance.

According to the New York Times, female computer scientists make 89 cents for every dollar that men make. Although this gap is smaller than some other fields, there is still a gap, and silently waiting to be recognized has clearly not made any difference. Don’t “wait for karma” — ask for a raise.

Be Aware of Your Privilege

Perhaps one of the most valuable things about attending Grace Hopper was being forced to recognize our own privilege. Privilege is, of course, a loaded word. Who has it, and how much of it do they have? What does it mean? How can we start to recognize it?

I missed the infamous “Male Allies” panel, but I followed the conversation on Twitter with curiosity. An all-white, all-male panel speaking about diversity to a diverse female audience is a guaranteed trainwreck. The panel reinforced old stereotypes and once again showed us that even our allies are unaware of their own privilege.

The brave male BrightRoller who attended Grace Hopper with us went to a session on privilege hosted by students and teachers from Harvey Mudd’s Computer Science program.  To illustrate just how much privilege enables success, they conducted a privilege walk. In the exercise, participants step forward if they have experienced specific privileges, or step back if they have experienced specific disadvantages. There was palpable tension in the room. People instinctively perceived  the privilege differential. When the group reflected on the activity at the end of the session, the word “discomfort” came up over and over.

Privilege is tied intimately to the notion of micro biases. Individual steps forward or backward are nearly undetectable, but the steps add up fast. Calling out privilege and bias, while uncomfortable and awkward, is liberating.


It is incredibly empowering to walk into a room full of amazingly smart women, to hear from Turing Award Winners, CTOs, scientists, and technologists. It’s empowering to see young girls find the confidence they need to make a difference.

My colleague Betsy said it best: Grace Hopper was inspiring because we got to hear stories from accomplished women technologists looking to give back to the community. Their stories of success without a support system, and their willingness to bolster other women makes Grace Hopper a must for all women in tech.

What is Next?

There was a lot of discomfort at Grace Hopper. To be honest, I think we brought some of it back. But discomfort is good. It surfaces things we are often too scared to acknowledge.

At BrightRoll, we strive to create an environment that recognizes the challenges faced by working women. We are nowhere near perfect, but we are working on initiatives to acknowledge gender bias, and to eliminate the barriers that keep us from an all-inclusive culture. Attending the Grace Hopper Conference might sound like a small step, but it is a small step in the right direction.


Award Sweep: BrightRoll Receives Three Prestigious Industry Recognitions

November has been an exciting month for BrightRoll. This past week, the company received three prestigious awards from Ernst and Young, Deloitte and Industry Index.

Earlier this week, BrightRoll CEO and Founder, Tod Sacerdoti, was named the 2014 National EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ in Media, Entertainment and Communications. The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award, a leading business award for entrepreneurs, encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses. The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges and from more than 250 regional award recipients. Check out Tod’s acceptance speech and learn more about his entrepreneurial path that lead him to building the world’s industry’s leading programmatic video advertising platform.

In addition to the recognition from E&Y, BrightRoll ranked 81 out of 500 on the 2014 Deloitte Tech Fast 500 list and 41 out of 241 within the software category. Deloitte’s Tech Fast 500 list is an annual ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. Winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2009 to 2013. BrightRoll’s position on the list is a 12 spot jump up from the company’s ranking at 93 from last year. This growth is attributed to the company’s continued investment in programmatic video and technology innovations that simplify the complexity of buying and selling video advertising across digital platforms.

Lastly, BrightRoll was honored with a Marketers Choice Award for the highest ranked Video Advertising Technology Company of the Year on Industry Index. Built with marketers in mind, Industry Index is the only searchable database and ratings platform that’s focused on measuring innovation. Digital marketers can rely on the Industry Index to quickly and easily see who stands out across the advertising technology landscape, based on both relevance to specific marketer needs as well as peer ratings. Check out BrightRoll’s Industry Index profile to see why our clients and industry professionals rated us as the number one video advertising company.

BrightRoll is extremely proud to be named alongside so many outstanding companies and individuals from each award – congrats to all!

Reach Your Customers With BrightRoll’s Mobile Audience Guarantee and Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings™

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the ad tech ecosystem.

While TV remains the “first screen,” video consumption on mobile devices is increasing at record levels. CMO.com reports that online video consumption across mobile devices is accelerating rapidly, with smartphone increases of 73% and tablet increases of 42% year over year (Q1 2013 vs. Q1 2014). According to eMarketer, US mobile advertising grew to $9.69 billion in 2013 and is projected to reach $17.73 billion by the end of 2014. The number of US mobile and connected TV viewers will reach a staggering 204.6 million by 2017.

We’ve kept pace at BrightRoll with the change in consumer behavior. First to offer web audience guarantees in 2011, BrightRoll now offers audience guarantees for mobile advertising via Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings, which was recently expanded to include mobile measurement. Mobile audience guarantees enable advertisers to pay only for impressions that are measured and verified by Nielsen Online Campaign RatingsTM (mOCR) within their target audience — a real win for advertisers who are working hard to increase the return on their investment.

BrightRoll’s mobile audience guarantee gives our customers the ability to:

  • Reach specific audiences on smartphones and tablets with increased cost efficiencies
  • Verify audience delivery for both web and mobile at no additional cost
  • Access unified campaign management for web and mobile from a single platform

BrightRoll was the first video advertising platform to partner with Oracle BlueKai, eXelate, Datalogix and Lotame for in-app and mobile web targeting. This access allows advertisers unparalleled opportunity to extend their reach, delivering ads with sight, sound, and motion across any device.

The dramatic shift in consumer behavior has encouraged many brand marketers to rethink their media buying strategies, looking to place messages where their target audiences are spending time.


As the video advertising platform that 87 of the top 100 AdAge advertisers choose to reach their audiences, we’re excited to be leading this change. Why do advertisers choose BrightRoll? For one, you can seamlessly run your entire mobile video advertising campaign from start to finish with the BrightRoll platform’s mobile services, technology, and partnerships.

To learn more about how to reach your target audience on mobile, please contact us today!

How Mobile Video Ads Amplify TV Advertising

The way that consumers watch media has evolved — and it’s still evolving, more rapidly than ever. One of the biggest game changers has been the rise of mobile devices. Since 2014, smartphone usage has increased 73%, and mobile has increased 42%.

This means that TV is no longer the only way for brands to reach large audiences with videos ads. In fact, as our recent study with Nielsen found, marketers using TV and mobile together can expand their reach by as much as 11%, while spending less budget.

Want to find out how? Watch the video below for an animated explanation of our findings.

Want to read the full report? Download Mobile Video Advertising Strengthen TV Media Investments.


On October 29, decision makers, influencers, thought leaders, and innovators came together at the second annual BrightRoll Video Summit in Toronto. Over a series of panels, presentations, and fireside chats, attendees and speakers reflected on and assessed programmatic advertising and the digital video advertising space. Watch the highlights below.

The event was opened in true BRVS tradition by BrightRoll CEO and founder Tod Sacerdoti. His keynote gave audiences insight into the explosive growth and demand experienced by the company and the video ad ecosystem, focusing on the Canadian market. “In September 2011, we reached a milestone of two billion ad requests per month. A couple of weeks ago, we reached two billion ad requests in a single day,” he told the audience. “In Canada alone, we’ve seen a 300% increase in video ad requests. I think this gives us a little bit of a perspective on of how far the programmatic video ad industry has come in a relatively short period of time.”  For more on Tod’s outlook for programmatic, watch the video here.

  1. The Programmatic Playbook: The Agency Perspective
    Jeff Thibodeau, SVP of digital media at the Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) Canada shared his perspective with Tim Avila, SVP of marketing operations at BrightRoll. Jeff explained his own definition of ‘programmatic’ and (more importantly), what makes for ‘good programmatic.’ Watch this video session to learn how and why SMG Canada is consolidating their digital video buys to a single programmatic platform.
  2. The Programmatic Playbook: The Premium Publisher Perspective
    Shifting lanes to the seller’s perspective, this dynamic panel discussed the reasons premium publishers are adopting programmatic selling. Until recently, programmatic was only used for unsold inventory. Watch this video session led by Clare Dunnett, senior director of publisher development at BrightRoll, to learn why programmatic represents a much bigger opportunity for growth in the long term.
  3. Following the Consumer: How Mobile Behavior is Driving Digital Video Growth
    How are people consuming video? How is it changing across screens and what actions do marketers and agencies take to address these evolving behaviors? Guy Yalif, VP of global marketing at BrightRoll, discussed answers to these questions and more with Brent Bernie, president of comScore Canada and Rob Young, SVP of media planning services, PhD Canada. Watch the video here.
  4. Presentation: Is This the Watershed Moment for Digital Video?
    Presented by Chris Williams, president of IAB Canada, this session focused on insights from a usage study of Canadian consumers on various media formats. The talk also covered the growth of digital, especially mobile. Watch the presentation here.
  5. Presentation & Discussion: How Mobile Video Advertising Strengthens TV Media Investments
    BrightRoll commissioned a study with Nielsen to better understand the incremental value of combining mobile video with TV advertising. Thomas Eaton, Nielsen’s VP of platforms, and Lanae Weir, BrightRoll’s senior director and head of Research, discussed key findings. The study indicates that mobile complemented with TV buys can indeed result in increased audience reach at lower costs. Watch the presentation and discussion.
  6. The Programmatic Playbook: The Advertiser Perspective
    The event’s third angle was provided by Kellogg, an advertiser on the BrightRoll Platform. Gayle Smilanich, Kellogg’s senior manager for North America, sat down with Charlie Whittingham, BrightRoll’s SVP of platform solutions,to explain Kellogg’s use of programmatic advertising, and their motivation for doing so. Watch this video session here.

Access the latest on thought leadership here, follow BrightRoll on LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest on upcoming events.

Growing the pie

Most economic fallacies derive from assuming there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.

-Milton Friedman

For the past eight years, BrightRoll has helped build the programmatic video advertising ecosystem.  Together, with our customers and partners, we have “grown the pie” in digital video and transformed how video advertising is bought and sold.

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that BrightRoll has reached a definitive agreement to be acquired by Yahoo.  We have seen Yahoo’s significant commitment to technology excellence, to execution for advertisers and publishers, and to building a world class team.  We are excited to take the next step with our customers and partners to accelerate the growth of the video advertising ecosystem.

When finalized, we believe this deal will benefit our advertisers, publishers and partners:

For advertisers and agencies, exclusive access to Yahoo’s audience data via BrightRoll’s industry leading DSP solution will result in increased in-target efficiency and significant cost savings.

Publishers who work with the BrightRoll’s marketplace will benefit from Yahoo’s deep relationships with advertisers and agencies.  This deal will allow us to accelerate the growth of our marketplace bringing more dollars to publishers’ properties.

Technology partners who have developed solutions within the BrightRoll ecosystem will benefit from the accelerated growth in usage of our platform and increased transaction volume.

I would like to thank our customers and partners whose support has made our vision of building the industry’s leading video ad platform a reality.  Our commitment to you is that through this deal we will accelerate investment and innovation within our platform to support your needs.  We feel that it’s still early days in programmatic advertising.  We’re excited to be joining Yahoo and continuing to growing the programmatic pie with you.

Tod Sacerdoti
CEO and Founder
BrightRoll, Inc.

Traffic Fraud Vs. Technology

Are you reaching your audience with video ads? If so, you’ve got a lot to consider. Where will you place your ad? How much are you willing to pay? Who are your target demographics? And finally, how can you be sure that your ad will seen by real people?

This year, US advertisers are expected to spend $6 billion on video ads. Unfortunately, not all of those ads will reach consumers. Bot-driven, invalid traffic wastes advertising budgets, muddles campaign metrics, and makes it hard to prove ROI.

As we uncovered in our new brief on the subject, fighting traffic fraud takes a multi-layered strategy. You need innovative technology, and you also need intelligent human oversight. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the technology that helps our industry identify, measure, and avoid illegitimate traffic.

Traffic Fraud Detection, Avoidance, and Verification
Fighting traffic fraud isn’t just about playing defense. Technology that detects and deflects non-human traffic is one of our industry’s most innovative tools.

This technology allows buyers, sellers, and intermediaries to approach the problem proactively, enabling them to identify, flag, and/or block suspect impressions and URLs. Once your video campaigns are up and running, it will help you determine that your “viewers” aren’t actually robots.

So how does it work? A sophisticated anti-fraud strategy employs technology that evaluates inventory based on user and site-based parameters. In video advertising, these parameters might include:

  • Blacklisted IP addresses
  • Abnormal, unachievable, or highly coordinated browsing patterns (indicating bot activity)
  • Delivery channel used to distribute impression
  • Source of inventory
  • Source of user
  • Signs of browser spoofing (or “referer spoofing”)
  • Type of hardware used
  • Viewability discrepancies

To get an accurate view, use an independent, accredited third-party verifier. Popular options include DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science, WhiteOps, or Moat, to name a few.

We’ve briefly identified ways technology can fight traffic fraud, but there’s plenty more to be learned. Fraudsters will continue to find new ways to profit, but technologists will continue to uncover their scams.

Are you concerned about traffic fraud? Ready to get educated? Learn more about how traffic fraud works, and how to get metrics you can trust. Download our new brief: Traffic Fraud in Video Advertising.

Programmatic TV Trailblazers: A Q&A with clypd and BrightRoll

In June, clypd announced the industry’s first Application Programming Interface (API) for programmatic television advertising and BrightRoll was one of the first to jump on board. Through this collaboration, BrightRoll now offers access to linear and set-top-box VOD inventory, which allows clients to buy inventory from television providers like Cox, DISH and others.

BrightRoll is partnering with companies like clypd to help pave the way in programmatic TV advertising and huge part of this requires educating the industry on both the advantages and challenges involved. Our VP of Business Development, Brent Horowitz, shares his wealth of knowledge on the topic in this Q&A with clypd. Take a look to understand the current state of programmatic TV and where the biggest opportunities lie for its future.

What is your Programmatic TV Strategy or Point of View?
We believe the power of video transcends screens and it will soon be table stakes for any major platform in the video advertising world to allow buyers and sellers to programmatically transact against inventory across viewing environments, including traditional linear TV. BrightRoll is taking a leadership role in aligning digital and TV advertising by working with key companies like clypd as well as with industry groups (e.g., IAB, SCTE, CIMM) to make TV inventory easy to buy, deliver and measure across all digital video ad campaigns.

What are the greatest opportunities and challenges related to programmatic TV?
The greatest opportunities in programmatic TV are similar to the opportunities we’re seeing in digital video today – those being automation, granular targeting, and advanced measurement. However, with programmatic TV you are now pairing these powerful capabilities with the most sought-after brand ad medium in history. The ability to use data and algorithms for smarter buys and seamless workflows in a rich storytelling environment is a holy grail for advertisers. That said, we have a long way to go when it comes to implementing the consistent standards, end-to-end workflows, measurement, and data policies to enable purely programmatic execution.

How much of TV advertising do you believe will go “programmatic” over the next few years?
We’ll gradually see more TV inventory transacted programmatically, but done so in varying methods in order to appeal to the needs of both buyers and sellers. Before attempting to make this prediction, we first have to define what we mean by “programmatic” in this context.

To me “programmatic TV” means:

  • Automated Execution – i.e. eliminating emails, IO’s and separate “as run” schedules
  • Ability to Target more than daypart/DMA/network – i.e. user data from buyer or seller
  • Centralized/Normalized Reporting – various flavors of TV and digital reportable by impressions, first party data sets, and/or third party currencies in one platform

Given this definition I think we’ll be doing quite well if 10-15% of TV ads are transacted programmatically within 3 years. That may sound low given the expectations and buzz around the topic, but to put that in perspective that’d be about $8-12bb, which is larger than the entire digital video ad market today.

What are the greatest benefits that advertisers will gain from programmatic TV?
Two key benefits: One, a more streamlined workflow for campaigns that extend beyond the 4 screens of digital to include linear and set-top-box VOD. Two, the ability to take the problems introduced by a fragmented viewing/consumption landscape (shrinking audience reach, inconsistent measurement & technical standards) and turn them into strengths (better storytelling, brand building, relevancy, personalization, and overall efficiency). Study after study shows that cross-channel advertising brings a range of benefits; programmatic makes those benefits a lot easier to achieve.

With public companies like Mondelez (Oreo, Chips Ahoy, etc…) discussing their favor and investments programmatic, how should media buyers be thinking about programmatic TV advertising?
It’s important to keep in mind that programmatic TV buying disrupts the “old way” of doing things, one that despite its inefficiencies in delivering against precise audiences is actually quite efficient from a workflow standpoint. So we need to move forward in way that adds incremental value to content rights owners – for example to un(der)-monetized inventory and/or with previously untappable data assets – as opposed to a way that attempts to change existing workflows or replace methods just for the sake of being “programmatic.”  For instance, many national sellers (broadcasters & cable networks) already have pre-negotiated deals with brands like Mondelez for their premium, prime-time spots as part of the upfronts. The best way for these media companies to dip their toes into programmatic will be for unrated networks/spots that attract no money today. And many service operators (cable/satellite/telco) have tremendous data assets that haven’t really been utilized at scale for their local avails; digital buyers are set up well to transact against these targeting capabilities. If buyers look to leverage data (from their seller partners and brand clients) in conjunction with platforms like BrightRoll & clypd to roll up pockets of fragmented TV inventory, they will turn up a lot of “diamonds in the rough” and everyone wins.

What else do you think is important to share?
We can’t have enough mutual education over the coming quarters and TV seasons. It’s fair to say that literally no one in the emerging programmatic TV ecosystem knows everything about everything. We all lose if technical standards and API’s don’t support key use-cases that are only being discussed in an ad sales setting. And digital buyers aren’t going to get very far if they don’t spend some time learning about the broader television business (hint: it attracts a LOT more money than that $70bb a year in advertising) and its infrastructure. One good test: could you go the Wikipedia page of a company across the linear-digital split and define half the acronyms you see there? If so, you’re doing yourself, your company, and your segment of the broader industry proud. If not, go buy someone “across the aisle” a drink and start talking!

BRVS Reveals Insights on Programmatic TV, Mobile Video Advertising and More

Over 700 brand marketers, agencies, publishers and ad tech influencers from across the digital video advertising industry gathered for the BrightRoll Video Summit (BRVS), which took place on October 1 during Advertising Week in New York. Now in its fourth year, the event featured a number of industry experts, including executives from Aetna, DISH, MasterCard, Nielsen, Time Warner Cable and Turner to explore how programmatic technologies are driving dynamic change in the digital video advertising landscape.

Staying true to tradition, BrightRoll CEO and founder Tod Sacerdoti kicked off the event to share updates on the state of the company and dove into how programmatic video advertising powers campaign optimization. In his keynote, Tod presented insights on audience verification, third-party data, viewability and how programmatic optimizations drive KPI improvements, while saving advertisers money. Watch the video of Tod’s full keynote address from the BrightRoll Video Summit for additional insights or check out the blog recap.

A series of panels and a fireside chat followed the keynote to focus on the hottest topics in digital video advertising today. Watch highlights from the BrightRoll Video Summit in the video for more insights.

The Programmatic Playbook: The Advertiser Perspective
Benjamin Jankowski, head of global media at MasterCard, and Gary Templeton, head of media at Aetna, joined Craig Whitmer, vice president of platform operations at BrightRoll, to discuss what’s important when implementing programmatic buying. During the event, attendees turned to Twitter to capture key takeaways and insights from the session:

Watch the session video from the BrightRoll Video Summit for additional insights.

The Programmatic Playbook: The Premium Publisher Perspective
Carrie Nicholson, vice president of ad innovation/programmatic at Turner Broadcasting System, sat down with Dan Mosher, senior vice president of business operations for BrightRoll. The fireside chat covered first-hand lessons for publishers about what to do (and what not to do) when implementing programmatic video selling. During the event, attendees turned to Twitter to capture key takeaways and insights from the session:

Watch the session video from the BrightRoll Video Summit for additional insights.

Presentation and Fireside chat: Mobile Video and TV: The New Prime Time for Advertisers
Andrew Feigenson, managing director of digital for Nielsen, shared findings from a recent BrightRoll-commissioned study conducted by Nielsen, which reveals how mobile video complements TV and makes TV investments work harder and smarter for marketers and agencies. Following the presentation he joined Lanae Weir, senior director and head of research at BrightRoll, for a deep-dive into the findings from the study on mobile video and TV advertising. During the event, attendees turned to Twitter to capture key takeaways and insights from the session:

Watch the videos of the presentation and fireside chat and from the BrightRoll Video Summit for additional insights.

An Insiders’ View of the State of Programmatic TV
Chris Faw, senior vice president of operations at Time Warner Cable, and James Shears, general manager of addressable at DISH Media Sales, joined Brent Horowitz, vice president of business development at BrightRoll, to explore the realities of programmatic TV. During the event, attendees turned to Twitter to capture key takeaways and insights from the session:

  • @clypd: Programmatic TV is about smart buying with workflow automation and data layering #BRVS
  • @enshun: Today, targetability is about advertisers bringing their own data @shearsjames@DISH, @BrightRoll Video Summit #BRVS
  • @hasanrahim: 3rd Party TV Ad Server will change the #programmaticTV landscape forever. The race is on.  #AWXI#BRVS
  • @BrightRoll: The industry needs to continue having transparent conversations & work together to move the needle forward in programmatic TV. #BRVS
  • @lutemi: One thing TV learns from digital is accountability. Talk upfront on KPI and who to use/ what to measure. #BRVS

Watch the session video from the BrightRoll Video Summit for additional insights. BrightRoll is committed to lending thought leadership on the hottest topics relating to the programmatic video ad landscape. Check out our upcoming BrightRoll Video Summit in Toronto, ON and stay tuned for next year’s events!

The BrightRoll Video Summit in Toronto is almost here

Register today to join more than 350 of the top players in the digital advertising ecosystem including brand marketers, agencies and publishers who will be part of the industry’s premier programmatic video advertising event.

The second annual  BrightRoll Video Summit will be hosted at the Arcadian Court in Toronto on Wednesday, October 29. This invitation-only event showcases the latest programmatic technologies and collaborative solutions for digital video buyers and sellers. Join us to hear industry leaders share their thoughts on how programmatic technologies are driving massive change while impacting video ad spending and ROI.

For more details and to register for the event, visit the BrightRoll Video Summit website.